Sunday, June 29, 2014

AR the Fish!!!

...We had a real laid back weekend and it was pretty great. Saturday we went to breakfast with friends, saw the Bubble Bus, met Remy from the Mason & Remy Show, played in the yard with our neighbor, and then both of us took a good, long nap together. It was great! Oh and after nap, we went to Costco, Pizza Street, Beauty Brands, and big girl panties and NO accidents!

Sunday was rough. AR was all kinds of out of sorts and the two of us fought...a lot. #justpickuptheletters We got ready and headed to Eleanor's birthday. AR insisted that we were the same type of shoes...and that she put on a bra just like mommy.

After the party, we headed to Nanny's to swim. Check out this pink swimmer!

Swim lessons are really paying off. That and the fact that my child goes swimming practically every day. Check out her jumping in. #fearless

She does this on her own and will do it over and over and over...My mom and I have to tell her to take a break! #lovemyAR

And here she is swimming. She's mainly just kicking her feet, she needs to work on her stew arms! Oh but first she has to flirt with the men sitting on the edge of the pool! #flirt

It's great that she's so confident and does well but we really have to watch her because she doesn't always wait for you to be ready before she jumps in. Still, go AR! Mommy's super proud of you!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ozeri Serafino Double Wall Insulated Iced Tea and Coffee Glasses...

...Looking for the perfect set of glasses to complete your kitchen? Check out Ozeri Serafino Double Wall Insulated Iced Tea and Coffee Glasses.

  • Set of 6 heat and shatter resistant borosilicate glasses that each hold 16 oz.
  • Stronger and more durable than common glass, each glass features a wraparound contour that provides a natural aesthetic grip.
  • Patent-pending double wall design that suspends drinks within an inner wall, creating an engaging optical effect.
  • Designed to keep your hands cool with hot drinks, and free of condensation with chilled beverages.
  • Completely microwave and freezer safe. Ships in an elegant 4 color printed box with a 1 Year Warranty. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

  • I finally have a matching set of glasses! What's even better though is that the cups can hold both hot OR cold beverages-score! I love that they are simple yet elegant design so we can use them when it's just our family lounging around the house or I can use them when we have guests come over. Having a toddler in the house, it's nice to know that they are also shatterproof. These would be the perfect housewarming gift too!

    *I received these at no charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    The Lodge Des Peres Outdoor Aquatic Center...

    ...On Sunday, AR, my sis, and I visited our second pool with our Splash Pass: The Lodge Des Peres Outdoor Aquatic Center. When we arrived, it was sprinkling but that played in our favor because it really wasn't too crowded. Locker room suggestion: get more trash cans and place one by the diaper changing table. Kind of gross to walk in and see a swim diaper on the floor. At first I thought to myself, "Seriously? Can't people throw that away???" Then I went to change AR and when I looked around, I couldn't find a trash can either.

    The pool part was awesome though especially for AR's age. They had this whole spray pad area including the tipping buckets so beware if your kid is standing close and not expecting it. Kids also like to climb on this stuff so the lifeguards were yelling at them to get down a lot.

    This area was also great. Small pool for toddlers that was only 2.5 feet deep, a lazy river with rafts you could use (AR sat on my lap for three laps-woohoo!) and then that random area in the middle was only three inches of water. A lot of women were sunbathing there, my child was blowing bubbles and pushing chairs in it. She really liked this area. I'm not sure if AR was supposed to sit on my lap or not but the guards never told us not to. There was one little girl, maybe 10 years old, that was in a life jacket and a tube and totally freaking out. The lifeguards didn't say anything or help her but my sis helped get her to the stairs so she could get out. I'm not sure what protocol is but then again, I wouldn't put my child that's afraid of water or not a good swimmer in a lazy river on their own either.

    Now this kiddie slide was were we spent majority of our time. We worked on not running to get in line so that was fun. The slide wasn't that fast but AR still loved it. However, there's a small, very very small drop when you walk off the mat. AR went the first couple times fine and then like third time, she fell and went underwater. I was at the very end of the concrete thing and started to go help her. It was really scary and not like, fall under water and pop back up. I mean my kid is comfortable in water, I'm not a helicopter mom so to say I was frightened should say it right there. I get to her and help her up. Luckily, she wasn't scared, coughing a little but wanted to go back down the slide right away. I look at both the guards whose zone she was in and neither of them even acknowledged the situation or were looking in our direction. I did notice that the guard on top of the slide was always the one yelling at the climbing spray pad kids. Oh and there's AR in this the bottom of the slide in pink and a red visor.

    Behind the slide is also an open area like 3.5 feet deep and by the lazy river is a tall waterslide for older kids. I really liked that there was lots of variety for my two-year-old because there's only so many times this momma can catch her jumping into the pool. We left because the storm rolled in but we were about done swimming by then anyway. It was a good time and we'd definitely go back and visit sometime again.
    Cost for one non-resident adult: $8, two and under free.
    Four out of five stars from the A Squared Ladies!

    Monday, June 23, 2014

    Cakeway to the West: Part 10!!!

    ...More #cakehunting yesterday! We found 15 cakes in total bringing us to 146. We were hoping to hit the 150 mark and have less than a hundred to go but we had a toddler in the back that we'd promised we'd go swimming so we had to call it a day at 146. It was just my sis, AR, and me, let me tell you, it's much easier when H is with us. We missed her today while she was eating "food" with Papa. Most of these pics are people-less since we didn't have our model with us. Our goal today was to make a giant loop and try to hit up some of the cakes we'd missed in areas that we'd already been to.

    Cake #132-Barrett's School

    Cake #133-Webster Opera

    Cake #134-Compton Water Tower
    My sis dropped me off and I had to walk about a block to get to the cake. I could tell they'd moved because suddenly my tablet told me I was connected to her wifi.

    Cake #135-Cardinal Glennon Hospital
    We have decided that having a cake at the emergency entrance is not a good idea. I mean cake is no emergency!

    Cake #136-Lafayette Park
    The banner in the background says Happy Birthday St. Louis!

    Cake #137-Cathedral Basilica of STL
    Jesus is on this one!

    Cake #138-Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis

    Cake #139-Fairgrounds Park

    Cake #140-Grand Avenue Water Tower
    Seriously? This one was in the middle of a roundabout with no place to walk across so I'm hanging over my sis to get the pic and praying that we don't get hit...or shot.

    Cake #141-Bellafontaine Cemetery

    Cake #142-Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club
    AR told us she wanted out here so after we snapped a cake pic, did a handstand, watched some guys mow, she ran laps back and forth across their tennis court.

    Cake #143-Chuck-a-Burger
    This place was delish and kids eat free on Sundays! Our waitress told them they'd gotten a lot of business from their cake.

    Cake #144-Holocaust Museum
    AR was having a slight meltdown here so I'm one handed taking this pic while my other hand is holding hers.

    Cake #145-YMCA of Greater St. Louis
    Another inside cake and I felt like a creeper for taking a pic with people swimming in the pool!

    Cake #146-Frank Lloyd Wright House
    We were cakeblocked here! Fellow cakehunters blocked the entrance so we had to go into a creepy parking lot, turn around, and park on the side of the road.

    We still have at least four major places to hit-Forest Park, Soulard, Illinois, and East St. Louis. I think we're going to wait until all the cakes are placed before we hit up the East side so we only have to make one trip there. We have a few random ones as well so hopefully we'll be under hundred soon!

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

    AR's Busy Social Calendar!!!

    ...I swear my child has more social engagements than I ever have. Of course, part of it is that her momma can't say no to anything. Not sure if I've mentioned it but my mom is renting an apartment this summer and watching AR three days/week. This is awesome because she's taking her to swim and library class as well as swimming at the pool in her apartment complex and taking her to all kinds of fun things...and I might add that I cook dinner maybe three nights a week which is a #winning for me!

    Swim class is two days/week at my work although next month it'll be three because she's doing private lessons. Before you start judging me and saying that I'm "over-programming" her, I'll let you know that the swim class is more a social thing because they really aren't in the water that much. She's learning to sit on the edge of the wall, wait for other kids, and participate without me (this isn't a parent/child class and she's the youngest by a year). Sure she gets in the water and does swimming stuff but in four classes, it's probably the same as what she does in one 30 minute private lesson. So for July, we're going to do both so she'll work on social skills and swim skills. Anyways, it's awesome for me too because I get to see my girl two times a week while I'm at work-score! I love having her come eat a snack at my desk and walking her to swim lessons.

    My mom is just like me, err I'm just like her, because she's constantly on the lookout for something fun and different to do with her. On Friday, she dressed up like a princess and went to Sleeping Beauty that one of the local high school's was putting on. Here's my princess:

    I honestly thought that we were too young for Frozen and all this princess stuff but apparently I was wrong. We borrowed this dress from my boss' daughters. I know, I should just break down and buy her one of her own. I mean if we're doing this at two, I'm sure we have a lot of years ahead of us in these dresses.

    My mom said she enjoyed the play until the witch came out and stomped her cane on the stage. Then AR looked at her and said, "Nanny, let's go home." As you can tell from this pic, she was a little unsure of this fairy with birds on her hand. At the end of the play, my mom asked her if she wanted her picture taken with Sleeping Beauty but the witch was standing with her so AR refused. I hope she isn't traumatized!

    This morning, after a quick oil change because my light came on which apparently is really bad, we headed out to Zachary's Playground for a Playdate for You All sponsored by Leaps and Bounds. They are a pediatric therapy center. I've been to a ton of their trainings when I was working with the preschool at work and I took AR for a speech assessment when I was stressing about her not talking yet.

    We went to the one they had last month at Brendan's Playground and she had a blast so we decided to go again. Working with so many children with disabilities, I think it's important for her to know from an early age how we can include everyone in our play. Zachary's Playground has a spray pad so as soon as we arrived, we changed into our suit.

    Surprisingly though, she wanted to play more on the playground than the spray pad. I was shocked especially since it was so hot.

    Of course we had to climb!

    This was a cool Jenga-like game made out of sticks, balls, and a tomato cage. I totally want to do this at our end of summer Olympics.

    She got snocones and here's a pic of most of the kids that were in attendance, some wouldn't leave the fun to have their picture taken!

    Mmm...just chillin' with my "pink" snocone.

    After our playdate, we headed home and got ready for Beau's birthday party. He goes to the sitter with her. His grandma & aunt make all of AR's custom shirts. They live in Texas and we FINALLY got to meet them in person. There was also a girl I used to work with there...what a small world. As usual, the water table was the hit of the party and we couldn't hardly get the kids away from it.

    By the time we got home from the birthday party, it was late in the day and I knew there was no way she'd lay down for a nap. So instead she got to watch Froze and she was one happy little girl!

    Now, Momma has to go rest up because we've got a busy day tomorrow filled with #cakehunting and more swimming!

    Cakeway to the West: Part 9...

    Cake #119-The Lodge Des Peres
    Got this one on the way to a playdate. My child misses nothing including the water slide behind me and cried because she wanted to swim! Luckily, I told her we were going to a party so she was okay with that.

    Cake #120-Left Bank Book
    Nanny and AR got this one.

    Cake #121-Daniel Boone Home
    The Boone Home is run by LU, particularly the department I work with so I get emails about this place all the time. Apparently the staff here hates their cake and thinks it's really ugly and doesn't fit the setting at all. When I was there, AR told the staff person "This is my Mommy." I started talking to him and turns he's the former dean of the department I teach in! Small world...

    Cake #122-Mount Pleasant Winery
    Another one that's located inside and they have to be open. We got there about 15 minutes before they opened but the guy let us in! There was a wedding rehearsal so I told AR about how her Daddy and I got married at a winery. 

    Cake #123-Washington Historical Society
    Don't mind my thumb in the pic, it was really bright and I couldn't see the screen. I wasn't planning on getting this but I was taking the backway to my sis' from the winery. When I saw town limit Washington, I had to re-route and get that cake!

    Cake #124-Eugene Field House
    This was the one that's locked up inside. My sis went to a day game and got it!

    Cake #125-Emmis Communications
    My sis went #cakehunting with some other friends and knocked out 8 before a Cards game! Yah for Sha in all the pics!

    Cake #126 TOKY/Locust Street Business District

    Cake #127 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cake #128 Shrine of St. Joseph

    Cake #129 Lammert Building

    Cake #130 America's Center

    Cake #131 Wainright Building
    Photo of the cake only and you had to go through a metal detector!

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Razor's Edge Book Review...

    ...Today is the day! Razor's Edge by Racquel Reck is released! I met Racquel through our #romancineamonth class. Lucky me got to read this book before it was released.

    Escaping the evil man of her past…
    With a tattoo gun, Shay Kelly tries to color a better future for herself and her son. When her abusive ex is paroled this proves to be a difficult task. All her clients used to be his and he’s taking them back. But that’s not the only thing he wants.

    Screaming his way to the top…
    No one can change the visions of Morgan Desario’s past, or what he saw the night his dad died. Marijuana helps the pain his singing can’t numb. When his heavy metal band gets signed, he’s flying high. But fame and fortune do nothing to take away the humiliation he faces every time he gets stuck in a memory.
    When their morals slip and their sins collide…
    They share the same lifestyle, but couldn't be more different. She's anti-drug and he's all for smoking pot. A night of passion bonds them together, but their connection is strained when their pasts are unleashed. On tour, Morgan’s sins flourish. At home, Shay's morals bend. A sharp line separates what's right and wrong that both are afraid to cross.

    Will they be cut walking the Razor’s Edge?

    Wow! This book will not disappoint. You get to hear the story from both Shay and Morgan's perspective. Morgan is totally dreamy (and I get to interview him on my other blog tomorrow morning!) and such a family guy it makes him swoonworthy. Shay on the other hand is very determined and a great mom, she'd do anything for her son which makes me love her too. The two of them have a rocky past but when they get together, nothing in the past matters. This book is tackles domestic violence, drug use, and so much more. To say it's a page turner is an understatement. I took every free minute I had to read this book. Racquel made me fall in love with Shay and Morgan, be mad at them, scared for them, and then relieved when it was over. She totally left us with a storyline that makes me wish the sequel was finished and I've even heard that there might be a novella for Morgan and Shay in the future to find out what happens after happily ever after...
    What are you waiting for? Hope over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to get your own copy!

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    The Faces of AR...

    ...There are some photos of me around AR's age sitting on top of a slide with our dog's flea collar around my neck and making a variety of faces. These photos are infamous in our family. Sunday I captured similar photos of AR but no flea collar.

    SURPRISE Face!

    Happy face!

    Sad face!

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    Father's Day 2014...

    ....Happy Father's Day out there! Yesterday, we spent the day at my sister's celebrating with my family. Today we went out to the farm. Our entire family, me, Matt, AR, and both furbabies, went and we are all exhausted! I only took you know...86 pics but here are some of my favorites!

    AR with her Daddy and Grandpa John

    In 2009, I went to conference and got a free Bald Cyprus that was about eighteen inches. Matt planted it at the farm. Here it is today...taller than Daddy!!!

    Grandpa John and AR practicing casting

    Oh Em Dog, some things never change, she stayed by my side the entire time we were there

    AR and Daddy rode in the back of the trailer to go fishing with Grandpa

    Fishing with Daddy

    Her first time with her butterfly net and she caught a butterfly!

    I am totally in love with this picture. Nothing like a girl and her doggies! They followed her on their own.

    The fishing and butterfly hunting didn't last long so we rode back to the house together. Quick selfie first!

    When we got back, Grandma had a bunch of headbands, bows, and barrets laid out. Although this isn't a great photo quality wise, I absolutely love their smiles and laughter.

    On the way home, we stopped by our friends' farm. They had kittens which OMG! AR loved! She even picked one up all by herself.

    They also have horses. She's only rode a horse once at the Kid Expo. She was so excited to see them and Mr. Jim told her to get up there! She was so excited! Here she is with Riley on Daisy.

    Such a big girl! As soon as she got off the horse, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I did it!" and wanted to ride again.

    Mr. Jim told her to ask Daddy for a horse herself. AR just smiled, tilted her head, and batted her eyes. Oh geez...we're in trouble.

    She kept saying, "I ride a pony!" It was the perfect end to her day and Daddy was pretty happy since we did all things he loves. Hope you had a great Father's Day with the dads in your life!

    "Why My Dad?"...

    ...Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! I hope that you are all celebrating with your favorite dads out there. There are some kiddos whose fathers are serving our country and unable to celebrate with their family. Ms. Lisa Bottorff is a USAF Veteran who has written a book that is designed to help military children understand why mommy or daddy is gone. It is titled Why My Dad? She is planning on this to be the first in a long series that addresses the difficult issues our little military members face.

    Lisa Bottorff, author of "Why My Dad?", is a United States Air Force Veteran who is from the St. Louis, Missouri area.  Lisa comes from a military family, following her brother, Steve, who also served and retired from the Air Force.  Even before our current state of war, military members are often gone for long periods of time due to missions, deployments, TDY's, etc.  Our children are left behind to deal with the pain and confusion of loss. 

    Lisa's inspiration for "Why My Dad?" came from her lifetime desire to not only write and publish a book, but to publish a book that had meaning. "Why My Dad?" does just that.  Its goal is to provide a source to assist military parents help their children not only deal with the emotional issues surrounding an absent parent but try and help them understand and make sense of it.  If it makes a difference in at least one child's life then it has met its goal.  

    *I received a copy of this in exchange for this blog post.

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Frozen: Movie in the Park!!!

    ...Tonight my mom and I took AR to see Frozen at Chesterfield Amphitheater.

    The movie didn't start until dark (8:30pm) but the festivities began at six. We arrived at 5:30 to stake our spot. Good thing we did because we got an awesome parking spot directly across the street from the amphitheater and pretty good seating for the movie too.

    It was finally not a rainy day so we had a good time running around and playing with the ball. AR insisted on wearing her sunglasses since both Mommy and Nanny were too.

    They had a giant snowglobe that you were supposed to be able to get in and have your picture taken. It was a total fiasco. They were there and set up when we arrived. At six they told people to get in line so it immediately filled up. We were like fourth in line and had to wait 20 minutes because they couldn't get their camera to work or something. OMG-it was nuts! But AR made a friend...

    And she met Queen Elsa!!!

    After that, we headed back to our blankets where we ate our picnic lunch that we'd brought. It was all of AR's favorites: PBJ, crackers, Cheez-Its, Oreos, grapes, turkey!

    Luckily there was a handrail by us so my monkey was entertained!

    Oh and she also climbed on Nanny too to pass the time!

    Our friend from line found us again (her sister) and the two enjoyed dancing to Disney songs.

    And AR enjoyed jumping off this like she does at swim lessons!

    Right before show time, we found Princess Anna!!! Don't mind that my child doesn't have on shoes. :-/

    We ran into the event coordinators who are former co-workers. It was nice to see them and catch up.

    Me and my girl...with a mouthful of Oreos

    No comment...

    It finally got dark and the movie started...

    She spent the majority of the movie in her lawn chair until Nanny and I were so cold that we made her lay between us for body heat.

    She sat still the entire movie even though it didn't end until 10:30pm. She was so good! However, once the credits started, she began crying and sobbing, "I wanna watch Froze!" which is what she does every time at the end. I can't help but laugh when she does it! She was zonked out before we crossed the bridge to get home. Couple of observations...1. I realized I've heard the movie more than I've seen it so I kept saying, I don't remember that happening! 2. I think I watched her more than the movie because her singing and reactions were priceless. The best though was when she'd lean over in her chair, put her arms around my neck, and say "Hi Mommy." #lovemyAR

    Shandali Hot Yoga Towel...

    Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

    ...It's been a few years since I took bikram yoga. If fact the last time I took it was the month before I got pregnant with AR! Anyways, I always loved it and thought it was a great workout. This Shandali Hot Yoga Towel would've been perfect at the time!

    The towel is thick and absorbent not to mention that it doesn't move around which is perfect for bikram! It reminds me a lot of their travel towel that we use for swimming that leaves no water behind. I'll be using this not only for hot yoga but for hot days at the pool too. Now if only I could do this pose...

    I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium...

    ...Saturday morning we woke up to rain pouring down. We had to adjust our game plan but no worries, we still had an adventure. First stop, Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium. AR loved this place! She was literally running from tank to tank screaming "Fishies!" Either that or she'd join another family and follow them around. Here was a pretty cool lobster.

    They had a touch tank. AR loved touching the starfish but see that prickly thing in the upper left. She touched that and was done.

    "Fishies, Momney, fishies!"


    Check this thing out, it's a giant CRAB! It's seriously bigger than me I think.

    They also had a soft play area that AR was too small for but they had this fossil dig that she thought was cool.

    They gave you a trivia sheet at the beginning of your visit. You answer questions and at the end, you get a "prize" which happened to be a medal. It was a medal weekend for us ladies!

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Hospital Hill 5k...

    ...After swimming in the pool, watching some "Froze" in the hotel room, and filling our bellies with food that was delivered by a train, AR and I met Candace and Liam again for the Hospital Hill 5k.

    This year, they moved the race to Friday night and allowed strollers. I had contemplated running the 10k until I found out about the move to Friday night. Since its just AR and I and she doesn't "know" anyone there, it's really hard to find someone to watch her at 6am on Saturday morning. This actually worked out great for us and we had a really good time! Here we are waiting to head to the race line.

    It was nice to walk with Candace and talk as we did. The kids were entertained in their strollers so we could actually focus and chat, not be crawled, walked, drooled over while telling them to share, be nice, stop running, it's just a dog-don't be scared. Candace has a Great Dane and AR didn't believe me he was a dog. When he laid down, he also took up the entire hallway and AR had no clue how to get around him. Anyways, at mile 2, I pulled her out of the stroller and we snapped a pic.

    After the race, AR was all about "Iam, Iam, Iam!" and this is how post-race was spent...

    ...or she was running around and dancing like a madwoman!

    I'm not quite sure Liam shared AR's excitement...

    Me and my girl with our medal, we conquered the hill!

    All four of us! We asked someone else to take our pic and he totally cut out the kids!

    AR's gymnastics place is doing a Handstand Contest. You're supposed to take pics throughout the summer doing a handstand. This was AR's first handstand in front of the fountains at Crown Plaza.

    We headed back to the hotel and snapped this selfie with our medal. Hey, we were proud of ourselves!

    Another Hospital Hill Run in the books!

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    LEGOLAND Discovery Center KC...

    ...Friday morning we hit up LEGOLAND Discovery Center. The sculptures they had were so amazing! However, I think it was totally lost on our young kiddos but they still had fun.

    My cheeseball with the Lego Lady.

    There were two "rides" inside. This one was kind of cool. You ride and have to shoot at the bad guys. Definitely not something I'd let her do on a regular basis but for one ride, she loved it...although she had no idea what to do with the shooter.

    The other ride, we stood in line and I didn't even notice the "height sign." I was talking it up to her as we were the first person in line standing directly by the attendant who didn't say a word. Well, not until it was time to board and then she looked at AR and said, "I don't think she's tall enough." This was after I'd bought a pair of socks for her to go in the "soft play" area only to find out she was too short for that too. So yeah, #momfail and total meltdown ensued.

    They had an entire room that was a replica of KC. Here's Arrowhead Stadium.

    We should've stayed in this area the entire time. It was the perfect size and activities for AR. Tons of cool Lego animals, a slide, and a Lego "pit."

    They had random legos in things like this throughout. Here's Candace's boys and AR. OMG-AR is obsessed with Liam (the baby). If we weren't with him, it was tears and "I wanna see Iam..." and if we were with him, it was forehead to forehead, "Hi Iam" or if he wasn't paying attention, "Iam, Iam, Iam!"

    One room was all things Star Wars. We don't watch Star Wars at our house so AR (and me) had no idea what was going on. This might be one of those things that we "have" to watch when she's older just so she knows what people are talking about.

    Colin (he's 4) had a great time. AR had a pretty good time but was bummed on some of the stuff she couldn't do. I'd recommend this place if you had an older kid and be sure to watch Star Wars before you go!

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Our Annual KC Trip...

    ...AR and I went on our annual Kansas City this past weekend. We left Thursday afternoon and came back Saturday afternoon. We may not have been gone long but we crammed a lot of fun and visiting in the time we were there!

    Thursday night, we stayed at Candace's, she's one of my besties and sorority sister from back in the day. Our kiddos loved playing past their bedtime Thursday night and were even more excited for donuts on Friday morning. Here's AR and Colin patiently waiting for theirs.

    Since it was National Donut Day, we got one for free-woohoo! We got them from Donut King because they have peanut butter donuts that taste exactly like a Reese's. Candace even brought me a dozen for my baby shower when I was pregnant. The kiddos, of course, got sprinkles. I tried to give AR some fruit but once the donut arrived, that was a thought of the past.

    After donuts, we went to LEGOLAND (see post tomorrow), had lunch at Fritz's in Crown Plaza where our food was delivered by a train, then AR and I went swimming. Silly girl, this isn't how you put on a swimsuit!

    Friday night, we walked the Hospital Hill 5k and stayed in a big fancy hotel room at the Sheraton. We had an entire king size bed for just the two of us but somehow I was almost falling out of bed!

    She loved the giant bed...not to mention jumping on it too!

    Saturday morning we woke up to lots of rain. Glad we did the race the night before! The race was delayed by about 30 minutes and we watched the 10k and half marathon runners from our 24th floor window.

    After chillin' in our hotel room, we went to Sea Life Aquarium then met some friends for lunch at Cheddar's (DELICIOUS!) before we got on the road to head home. While at Cheddar's, we also ran into another friend of ours and her adorable son! Lauren, my sorority daughter, is prego so AR and I had brought a big bag of stuff for her. I'm pretty sure AR pulled everything out of the bag to show her while we waited for our lunch.

    While we were driving home, I got multiple, as in at least ten, text messages from the city notification system that there was a tornado watch in our county. When I got to Warrenton, the interstate was a parking lot so I got off at that exit and decided to do a little #cakehunting. Here's Cake #118 Warren County Courthouse.

    I took the backroads home and missed all the traffic. More importantly, our house was still standing when I got home! Stayed tuned for the rest of our trip. 

    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    Protecting his Wolfe Book Review by Melissa Keir...

    ...Melissa Keir is back at it again! I love her writing and this time she roped me into the story of Betsie Wolfe and Jonah Pigg in Protecting His Wolfe.

    Betsie Wolfe was a small town girl who left her cozy little life for a job in the big city, but she never expected to become a witness to a murder or face vicious threats. Detective Jonah Pigg was immediately attracted to Betsie’s lavender eyes and small frame huddled in the gray wool blanket when he arrived on the scene of the murder. When threats on her life begin, he takes her into his home under the protection of the three Pigg’s who own the Pigg Agency. It will take all his detective work to keep her safe from the killer. Passion has a way of igniting when people are under stressful situations and lust leads Betsie and Jonah into each other’s arms. But is their relationship only a matter of desire or is it something more?

    This story has it all...the sweet innocent woman, the strong protective man, drama, suspense, love...I couldn't put it down! It was the perfect summer read that had me wondering when Betsie and Jonah will recognize their true feelings for each other. Melissa has a great way of making you connect with the characters and wanting the best for them. Definite must read!

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Cakeway to the West: Part 8...

    ...Before Dez's big party last weekend, AR and I went on a cakehunt. First, we stopped and visited with Q, my bestie from college, and her family then we set off to find more from the STL 250 list. We knocked out four which isn't too bad.

    Cake #114-St. Ferdinand Shrine
    I knew where this one was because Q had her 30th birthday party here. My child refused to be in this picture so you get me again.

    Cake #115-Taille de Noyer
    This one was in a locked fence and my Note doesn't zoom so this is the best I got.

    Cake #116-Ferguson Transportation Depot
    Love the location and scenery with this one!

    Cake #117-Creve Coeur Lake
    This took a bit to find but we found it! AR took her shoes off in the car but of course, she was all about it once we got to the cake. It took me awhile to get her to look at the camera because she kept pointing and saying, "Dog, dog, dog!" to every dog that passed by! But hey, the end results was total America's Next Top Model, was it not?

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Oh Two-dles, it's Dez's Birthday!!!

    ...Last Sunday, Liz and her family celebrated Dez's second birthday. She invited us to come join the celebration along with some of the other gals in our group.

    The theme was Mickey Mouse and she had the cutest invitations! It said, "Oh Two-dles! Can you believe it? Hot diggity dog, Dez is turning 2!" She had the pool and water table set up outside. Obviously, these three were fans! AR was kicking, Cadence was jumping, and Emma was laughing at both of them.

    Cadence seriously loved all things water!

    I love their expressions in this in the sun!

    Emma thought the pool was fun!

    There was no distracting Dez when it came to the Mickey balloons. I think he looks so precious in this picture.

    Dez came to check out the ladies in their swimsuits...a little water table date!

    AR has this thing about wearing shoes outside, she has to wear them! The sitter won't let them go outside without them. She spent a lot of the time taking them on and off to get in and out of the pool. Then she'd walk on her tippy toes in the grass.

    She insisted on wearing her sunglasses.

    Dez insisted on shaking the gate. See the Mickey balloon in the back? Wouldn't you want to play with it too!

    Dez's baby brother, Sam, was there too but he spent most of the party napping. I don't blame was hot outside!

    It was a family effort to blow out the candles. Liz will probably kill me for posting this pic but hey, that's what friends are for, right?

    Dez eating up the icing!

    So was AR and I don't blame them. Liz made them herself and they were pretty delicious!

    All wrapping paper at our house is either Christmas or girlie so I tried to be creative with the wrapping and get AR involved. We cut up two grocery sacks and pieced it together then decorated it. I probably should have used markers. #lessonlearned

    Having just had her birthday a couple weeks ago, AR was very interested in helping Dez opening his presents. I kept trying to corral her away so she'd stop getting in his pictures. Finally she sat down to supervise, at least she wasn't opening them!

    AR had a blast celebrating Dez's birthday with him and their friends. Best part? She took a 2.5 hour nap that afternoon! Woohoo! Happy birthday, Dez!

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Phone Photo Dump...

    ...My phone doesn't take great pictures but it does capture precious memories. Here are just a few that I've taken in the last month.

    Me and my girl early one weekend morning after taking care of our doggies.

    She's a hambone!

    A few weekends ago, the three of us grabbed Chick-Fil-A and ate at this pond. Apparently the fish in this pond weren't fans of CFA fries.

    We went to the Kid Expo with Jenni and Emma. AR rode her first pony and loved it!

    On Mother's Day, we went to Home Depot and picked out flowers to play at her Grandma's.

    Nanny requested a photo of us on Mother's Day. This was before bathtime. She looks exactly like my cousin in this picture, it's uncanny! Side note: Does anyone use the word uncanny any more?

    The night before AR's birthday, my mom, her and I went to El Maguey for dinner. They gave her a sombrero to wear, sang to her, and she ate flan. She thought it was pretty awesome!

    Here she is sitting not very ladylike in the doctor's office before her two year check-up.

    Memorial Day weekend, we played in the front yard with our water table. A little mix and match swim suit going on and of course, our Minnie flip flops.

    Don't mind the Goldfish in her mouth. She's really digging her sunglasses this year which is exciting!

    And this was last Friday night. My child in her Nike sandals, a diaper, her helmet running on the sidewalk in the rain! #summertime #toddlerlife #lovemyAR

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Chesterfield Aquatic Center...

    ...The professional organization I'm a part of always sells Splash Passes as a fundraiser every summer. It's $40 for two passes to at like 10-15 different pools around St. Louis and I think there's a couple in Kansas City you can use it with too. Most pools are free for two and under so that means we get to visit each pool twice since it's usually just AR and me.

    It's a pretty sweet deal and I know next year when I have to start paying for AR, we'll definitely get our money's worth out of it! My goal is to try to use at least one pass every week. It might be my mom or babysitter that takes her but someone to use it. I'll try to post about each pool we visit so you can get a tour of the pools around STL. Pictures won't be great since they'll probably just be on my phone but I'll try to snap a few at each location.

    This past Saturday, we visited Chesterfield Aquatic Center. It would have cost us $7 (non-resident adult) if we didn't have the Splash Pass. It's right next to the mall and very easy to access. There's also a great playground next to it so you could've had a picnic and made a whole day of it.

    We arrived right at ten when they opened which was the perfect time. About an hour later and the older kids started flocking in and it was getting a lot busier. As it was, there were mainly just kids AR's age and a little older.

    They had a spray pad that was huge and little mini chairs that I could sit in and watch her while getting a tan. There was also a large umbrella that covered a little less than half the spray pad so it was great to keep the youngin's out of the sun.

    Then there was this huge zero entry area. AR loved the green slide in the background. It was easy for her to get up the steps and down and the water didn't spray in her face too much. The hardest thing was getting her to get out because she wanted to just chill in the water at the bottom of the slide. I'm going to brag, she did a wonderful job waiting until the kid before her was out of the way before she went down.

    BE WARNED! There is a giant bucket that fills with water (just out of the picture in this) and it tips over and sprays the backside. Yeah, I didn't notice it and neither did AR. Not two minutes we were in the pool and she was directly in the back where it lands and a TON of water dumped on her. Luckily, she didn't mind and actually was trying to get in it EVERY time.

    There's also a slide on this feature for kids bigger than AR but too little for a regular water slide. It was a great depth, like two and a half feet, for her to jump in to me so we did that for awhile too.

    Of course, we had to take a snack break and eat giant handfuls of blueberries!

    There was also a lazy river that they provide inner tubes for you to float in. AR and I went together, she sat on the tube and I held her while we went through the water sprays. I think there were also two diving boards and two big slides for older kids. There was a women's, men's, and family locker room there so that was a bonus. Of course, my kid loves being in the locker room and yelling so she can hear herself echo.
    Chesterfield Aquatic Center=five out of five fins from the A Squared Ladies

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Kickaroo Class...

    ...So we started taking soccer class at Vetta. She pretty much loves any part of the class...that doesn't involve the soccer ball. However, at the beginning of class, it's kind of free play, dribble around which she really enjoys. Check out this pic, she looks like she really knows what she's doing!

    This is Coach Corey. He is a VERY patient man.

    See my child would much prefer to sit or lay on the ball then actually dribble or kick it.

    The class starts off with stretching which of course AR loves. Check out that smile on her face.

    Touch your toes!

    Now run to the big white wall with your dot on your head. Normally they don't carry their dots to the big white wall but AR wanted to put her dot on her head so Coach Corey let them all do it.

    It's really hard to not get frustrated with her when she flat out refuses to do the game we're playing. Apparently she has a huge aversion to Red Light/Green Light and I have no clue why! I try to play the game with her, help her with it, point out that the other kids are doing it, but when she just sits down and throws a fit. I try to *calmly* tell her she can either play the game or go sit on the wall. Three out of four times, she'll pick the wall. I mean, look, wouldn't you?

    I finally got her to come back over and this is where she chose to sit.

    Then we played a game with cones which she participated in...until she realized she could wear it on her head like a hat.

    Or just pick up the cone and yell into it for a cool effect. Did I mention that Coach Corey has great patience?

    At the end of each class, Coach Corey throws the rings and the kids run and get them. They bring them back and put them around his neck. All the kids love this part of class!

    Then they all put their hands in and say "I love soccer!" AR is a huge fan of this thanks to Super Why.

    Then Coach Corey gives them all stamps which AR thinks is thumbs up!

    We've only got a few classes left. Our summer is so busy with library, swimming, and gymnastics so I think we'll take a break from soccer and maybe try it again this winter when it's too cold to be outside. Happy kicking!

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    So I wrote a book AND published it!!!

    ...Remember when I did this post and told you that I was attempting to write a book? Well, I did it! I wrote a book, I went through the grueling process of editing and critiquing, and I officially published it for the world to read! I'm still working on the paperback copies but it available for Nook and Kindle right now.

    First off before I tell you about the book and your chance to win a copy for yourself, I want to give a shoutout to the awesome Melissa Keir for helping me with the formatting process and being an amazing friend and mentor. I also want to mention Katerina Baker a fellow indie author who went chapter by chapter, page by page, and word by word and helped me to the finished product. As soon as I sent her the published copy, she jumped on board helping me promote, promote, promote. To both of these women, I am so very thankful!

    Now on to Love is a Fire, shall we? First off, it is available on Barnes & Noble and Kindle and you want to be sure to add it to your bookshelf on Goodreads, too. It is a quick easy read so perfect for your days at the pool or while your kiddos nap and you just enjoy some "mommy" time. I decided to use a pen name: Lyssa Layne.

    Now that my book is published, you'd think the hard part was over? Ha-hardly! Now it's promote, promote, promote! So you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or my OTHER blog for updates on my writing and what happens after "The End." So on to the summary:

    “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn your house down, you can never tell.” -Joan Crawford

    Dr. Katy Malone has sworn off love after losing those she loves most in her life including her father, a member of the FDNY. She has decided to spend her time focusing on her medical research. Her ex-fiancée, and fellow doctor, isn't ready to give up on loving her though.

    Firefighter Nick Garrity is on a search for the future Mrs. Garrity. As he pushes thirty, with no prospects in sight, he's afraid he'll never find her. A devoted member of FDNY, he loves the thrill of his job and the satisfaction it brings him. He strives to teach the proby firefighter, Patrick Doyle, the ropes and pass on his passion to him.

    When Doyle tries to impress the guys on the crew, he ends up in the care of Dr. Katy Malone. One look at Dr. Malone and Nick knows he's found his future wife but can he convince her to love again?

    As I stated before, I'm not looking to make a day job out of this. I write because I enjoy it and I want to share my writing with others. My goal is simply to recoup the costs of what it cost to publish the book but more importantly to have readers fall in love with my characters the way I did. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to win a copy of the book and meet my characters! The contest will close this Friday, June 7 at midnight.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    I am planning on doing a blog tour later this summer. If you are interested in participating, please let me know. Also, please leave me questions that you have for Nick, Katy, Jeremiah, Jesse, Murph or any other characters so that I can put together some character interviews. I hope you enjoy the book. Happy reading!!!